The Guardian’s Apprentice – meet the creatures
After publishing my novel The Guardian’s Apprentice last fall, I gathered together my notes and decided to organize them into an encyclopedia of sorts. Over the next few weeks, I will place excerpts of this information on my blog – it is also available on my website at http://www.theguardiansapprentice.com.
To start off the posts, listed below are some of the creatures that have appeared in the first book or will appear in book two:
Minion of Evil – Created by one of the most powerful necromancers ever to walk the Earth, a minion of evil looks very much like a seven foot tall scarecrow. The being is formed by first stealing the soul of a witch or wizard and then binding it to the essence of the Shadow – a feat accomplished by only one wizard in history. It has rotting, blackened timbers lashed to its shoulders and spine for support and walks with a shuffling gate. The branch-like arms terminate in wicked claw shaped hands, the fingers of which are tipped with razor sharp talons. Clothed in rags as black as pitch, the most shocking part of a minion is its head, which is almost always a large pumpkin. A cruel, eyeless face is lit from within by a flickering reddish glow that never dies. Although their soul is lost, they retain the ability to wield magic – primarily in the form of deadly curses.
Monger – Another dangerous creature of Ebonwood is the monger. Mongers are long, snakelike creatures with a head similar to a catfish. They hover a foot or two off of the ground and are lightning fast when attacking their prey. They are the ‘bottom feeders’ of the forest, devouring anything living or dead they happen across. Mongers usually travel in packs or schools of a dozen or more.
Haggle – Haggles are large, ungainly birds that circle high overhead watching for prey. Opportunistic, they historically have followed armies or caravans in order to pick off the stragglers. Haggles will normally hunt alone, but often shadow one another to try and steal a kill – intended victims have been known to escape while two birds are bickering over ownership of the target. Highly intelligent, haggles are fluent in every dialect of the human, elvish and dwarvish languages and have been known to barter with an intended victim – accepting gold, shiny trinkets or fresh meat in exchange for setting their prey free.
Reaper – A solitary hunter, the reaper is a round-bodied animal the size of a large dog. They are covered in a coarse brown fur and lope along on their oversized hind legs. Instead of eyes, they have two thin, twitching antennae which sprout from their forehead. A leathery, black nose with three air slits allows them to pick up the faintest scent. Highly magical, they confuse their prey by causing hallucinations, confusion and eventually, unconsciousness. After the victim is stunned, the reaper will move in, using its short, hook-shaped forearms to tear out the heart. The beast then drains the victim’s aura, leaving behind a withered husk.
Seeker – Seekers are a lesser minion, created by black magic to serve their creator for relatively short periods of time. They are typically used to hunt down those who do not wish to be found, as seekers are tireless and will hunt their prey twenty-four hours a day without rest. Resembling a small cloud of black mist, the seeker will emit a shrill call when it locates its prey. It will then attach itself, stunning the victim until its creator arrives.
Irk – Related to imps and pixies, irks are small, irritating creatures. Armed with needle-sharp teeth and claws, they will nip and scratch anyone they happen across. Though their small size prevents them from inflicting any serious damage, a mild toxin coating their claws causes an irritating rash to form on the skin of most victims. Wizards and witches have been known to capture and train irks to do their bidding, sending them into the chambers off their rivals at night to scratch and claw them while they slept. Though never fatal, the victim was left covered head-to-toe in an itchy, red rash. this practice eventually became known as “irking” someone…
Weedle – Weedles are small, bloodsucking insects that resemble a tiny cockroach. When they find a host, they will burrow under the skin to feed and eventually lay their eggs. Despite their small size they cause a considerable amount of pain to their victims, whom they will eventually kill as successive generations of young are hatched. Weedles were used hundreds of years ago to torture criminals into confessing. In tribunals it was not unusual for the presiding wizard to ask the prosecutor if they had ‘weedled a confession’ out of the offending party yet.